The classification of emotion and scientific realism

The scientific study of emotion has been characterized by classification schemes that propose to 'carve nature at the joints.' This article examines several of these classifications, drawn from both the categorical and dimensional perspectives. Each classification is given credit for what it contributes to our understanding, but the dream of a single, all purpose taxonomy of emotional phenomena is called into question. Such hopes are often associated with the carving at the joints metaphor, which is here argued to be harmful to scientific realism, and better rejected in favor of a pragmatic approach. Questioning the mere discovery theory of scientific progress, I argue that psychologists discover facts about their domain of study, but have to decide how to classify them. 2012 APA, all rights reserved).
Keywords classification   emotion   scientific realism   taxonomy
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DOI 10.1037/h0091270
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